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Austerity on Trial

LSE Department of Law and Just Fair Literary Festival event (with Matrix Chambers)

Date: Friday 1 March 2013 
Time: 6-9pm (including interval with complimentary drinks reception)
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Judge: Hugh Tomlinson QC
Prosecution: led by Karon Monaghan QC with Jamie Burton
Defence: led by Martin Howe QC with Richard Honey
Expert Witnesses: Tim Frost, Will Hutton, Andrew Lilico, Ruth Porter, Magdalena Sepulveda and Polly Toynbee

Does UK government policy on economic austerity breach international human rights law? In an innovative legal proceedings, the charges will be brought, and 'Austerity' defended, by a team of legal experts, backed by distinguished human rights and other specialist witnesses from the UK and around the world. Overseen by a leading barrister acting as judge, the trial will end with a verdict delivered by a jury of children and young people, as well as the audience.   The jury is made up of members of Amplify (The Children’s Commissioner’s Advisory Group) and members of the LSE Widening Participation Programme. 

The prosecution indictment and the defence statement for the event are available to download (pdf):

Indictment: The People v Austerity

Austerity Defence Statement

Jamie Burton of Doughty Street Chambers is a public lawyer with expertise in judicial review. His main areas of practise are human rights, social and clinical care, housing, social security, criminal justice and environmental law.

Tim Frost is a non-executive director of Cairn Capital Group Limited, a full-service credit asset management firm.  Prior to joining Cairn Capital he spent 15 years at JP Morgan, latterly as European head of credit sales, trading and research. Among other things he helped in the building of JP Morgan’s European credit derivatives business and served on JP Morgan’s European credit and rates executive committee. Tim is a governor of LSE.

Richard Honey of Francis Taylor Building, is a barrister in the fields of public law and environmental law, with particular specialisms in judicial review, infrastructure projects, compulsory purchase and compensation, and commons and village greens.

Martin Howe is a barrister at 8 New Square, focussing on intellectual property, European Community law, data protection and commercial and public law. He is a member of the Coalition Government's Commission which has been set up to look into the case for a Bill of Rights.

Will Hutton is the principal of Hertford College, Oxford University. He is also the chair of the Big Innovation Centre at The Work Foundation – the most influential voice on work, employment and organisation issues in the UK. Will is a governor of LSE. He is a member of the Scott Trust board and a fellow of the Sunningdale Institute. He was the chair of the Commission on Ownership which delivered its findings in 2012. He also led the Public Sector Fair Pay Review, which published its final report in March 2011. Will’s books include The State We’re In (1996) and Them and Us: Changing Britain – Why we need a fair society (2010).

Andrew Lilico is the chairman of Europe Economics, a fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs and a member of the IEA/Sunday Times Monetary Policy Committee. As chief economist of Policy Exchange from 2009-10 he produced what the BBC has described as the "essential theory" behind the Coalition's initial deficit reduction strategy. At Europe Economics he has worked extensively on major finance and regulatory questions, including for clients such as the European Commission, UK government departments and regulators, industry associations and large firms. He is a frequent contributor in the UK and international media on economic and financial matters, including on programmes such as Newsnight, the Today Programme, Sky News, CNBC and Bloomberg. His first degree was from St John's College, Oxford and his doctorate from University College, London, where he also lectured in macroeconomics and in monetary theory.

Karon Monaghan is a barrister at Matrix Chambers and principally specialises in equality and human rights law. he was an adviser to the government's Women and Equality Unit on the Discrimination Law Review which preceded the Equality Act 2010.

Ruth Porter is communications director at the Institute of Economic Affairs. She has worked in public policy and communications for nearly a decade. During this time she has represented UK businesses working in areas including software, energy and electronics. She studied politics and philosophy at the University of Warwick before moving to New Zealand, where she worked for the independent think tank, Maxim Institute. Ruth worked on the research team looking at a wide range of issues from social policy to tax reform. She co-authored a series of reports on education that won the Innovative Projects category of the Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Awards and edited the book Pursuing social justice in New Zealand, which was launched by New Zealand's Governor-General.

Magdalena Sepulveda is the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. She is a Chilean lawyer who holds a Ph.D in International Human Rights Law from Utrecht University in the Netherlands; an LL.M in human rights law from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom and a post graduate diploma in comparative law from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. She has worked as a researcher at the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights, as a staff attorney at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and as the co-director of the Department of International Law and Human Rights of the United Nations-mandated University for Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica. She also served as a consultant to the Division of International Protection of UNHCR and to the Norwegian Refugee Council in Colombia. More recently she has been research director at the International Council on Human Rights Policy in Geneva and Associate Research Fellow at the Norwegian Center for Human Rights.

Hugh Tomlinson is a barrister and founding member of Matrix Chambers.  He has a wide-ranging practice in both private and public law. He is a noted specialist in media and information law including defamation, confidence, privacy and data protection. His practice also includes advisory work and litigation in the freedom of information field.

Polly Toynbee is a British journalist and writer, and has been a columnist for The Guardian since 1998. She was formerly BBC social affairs editor, columnist and associate editor of the Independent, co-editor of the Washington Monthly and a reporter and feature writer for the Observer

This event forms part of LSE's 5th Space for Thought Literary Festival, taking place from Tuesday 26 February - Saturday 2 March 2013, with the theme 'Branching Out'. #LSElitfest

Fringe events in the run up to this event include Reflections on the Meaning of Austerity on Monday 25 February at 6.30pm, and Organising Capital – A Dignified Alternative on Thursday 28 February at 6.30pm.

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #AusterityonTrial

Podcast and Video

A podcast and video of this event are available to download from Literary Festival 2013: Austerity on Trial

Podcasts and Videos of many Literary Festival events are now online: LSE Literary Festival 2013- Podcasts and Videos. Podcasts and videos of many other LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel .


This event has been certified for CPD purposes by the CPD Certification Service. Self-Assessment Record forms will be made available for delegates wishing to record further learning and knowledge enhancement for Continuing Personal and Professional Development (CPD) purposes. For delegates who wish to obtain a CPD Certificate of Attendance, it is the responsibility of delegates to register their details with a LSE steward at the end of the event and as of 1 September 2014 a certificate will be sent within 28 days of the date of the event attended by the CPD Certification Service.  If a delegate fails to register their details at the event, it will not prove possible to issue a certificate. (For queries relating to CPD Certificates of attendance after a request please phone 0208 840 4383 or email info@cpduk.co.uk).

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